For someone who built his campaign on a reputation as a businessman and deal-maker, President Trump is having a fairly difficult time convincing CEOs and other business leaders to attend his upcoming policy forum.
The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, announced that he would not be attending the upcoming event, despite the fact that he was the only member of the entertainment industry that had previously committed to going.
Disney said that Iger had to back out of the event due to a board meeting, but the timing is interesting, as it coincides with the massive protests that erupted in response to Trump’s Muslim ban. It’s possible that Iger is withdrawing from the meeting as a silent protest against the order, though that is merely speculation. As of now, all we have is Disney’s word that there was a scheduling conflict.
In December of last year, Trump billed the event as a meeting of “CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth.”
Despite Trump’s talk of being a businessman, his policies have angered many business leaders. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who was one of the few in the tech industry willing to give Trump a chance, recently withdrew from the meeting. TechCruch reports that Kalanick feared that going to the event would serve as an endorsement of Trump’s policies.
‘Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community. I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.’
It should be noted that Kalanic’s decision may have been made in response to the #DeleteUber campaign that was trending on Twitter due to the perception that the ride-sharing service had attempted to break a strike organized by New York City taxi drivers in support of the protesters opposing Trump’s Muslim ban. In general, the tech industry has been opposed to Trump, with many companies opting out of the forum altogether. CEOs withdrawing from the meeting might be the least of Trump’s concerns.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is no fan of Trump, has threatened to sue him over the ban. Microsoft and Expedia have pledged their support for the lawsuit. Microsoft has also asked Trump for an exemption from the ban — though, if Trump knows of their support for the lawsuit, it’s unlikely they’ll get it. Trump is many things, but gracious is not one of them.
As of right now, the White House has not responded to Iger’s withdrawal, but knowing Trump there’s a chance we’ll send out a 3 am tweet-storm where he calls Disney a failing company and Iger “sad.”
Despite Iger’s withdrawal and the tech industry’s general wariness of Trump, there are still many companies that will be attending the event including representatives from J.P. Morgan, General Motors, Wal-Mart and others.
Featured image via Getty Images.